Monday, August 13, 2007

The Rolling Stones

Last Saturday I got a chance to see the dinosaurs of Rock & Roll. Yep, none other than The Rolling Stones. They were in the country and somehow I managed to get myself some (free) tickets.

After 40 years in the business, you're never quite sure what they are like live. I was just worried that Keith might drop dead before he gets on stage but he was quite alive actually.

The stage was in an Olympic stadium and they built a huge stage for them, although the drumset was a bit hidden amidst all the amps. The weather was great and it could not have been a better day to see the Stones.

At 21.00 they came out and started playing - what else - Start Me Up. And it's true, once you start Mick Jagger up he'll never stop. Even though he is close to 60, he moves more than Alex Turner on stage. He swaggers about, sways his (tiny) hips about, basically showing what an entertainer he is. He is truly a showman.

Next to him was Keith Richards. He just shuffles around on stage playing cool licks on his guitar. He looks like Capt Jack Sparrow's dad (wait, he is Jack Sparrow's dad, hmmmm) and he sang one song. He has a good voice suprisingly, especially for someone who always seem to have a fag in his mouth (and a drink in his hand if he's not holding a guitar).

Then there is Charlie Watts on the drums. The one that looks the most sensible. His drumming is the glue that keeps it all together. While Mick is off singing high notes and Keith is just ambling along with his licks, it's Charlie's drumming (and the bass) that keeps the rhythm going. He must be one of the most underrated drummers ever.

And on the left is the other guitarist Ronnie Wood. He joined the Stones as a replacement for Brian Jones and he doesn't look out of place at all. Just the wrinkles on his face fits well with Mick and Keith and he does his guitar duties very well. He tries to be as cool as Keith although just missing it by a fine line, but he is a very integral part of the Stones.

There were a bunch of back-up musicians as well. A bassplayer, two keyboardists, a horn section and some backing vocals to fill in any gap in the music.

They went through all their greatest hits (Jumpin Jack Flash, Honky Tonk Woman, I Can't Get No Satisfaction, You Can't Always Get What You Want, Sympathy For The Devil, Paint It Black, and some more). Mick is forever changing shirts to put over his black t-shirt. Keith is forever lighting up fags (Ron too actually). Mick interacts very well with the crowd.

For most people in the crowd this will probably the only time they'll ever see the Stones. For me too actually. So when they played a long version of Brown Sugar to end the show I wished it never ended.

I wasn't born when the Beatles stopped touring, but I have watched the Who and now the Stones. I can say that I have now seen the bands that influenced modern pop and rock.


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